Jose Sueiro: The Columbia Heights Legacy of Bob Moore

moore_125x192History in our neighborhood of Columbia Heights. We are remembering the life and work of Bob Moore, who oversaw the redevelopment and gentrification of Columbia Heights. Moore’s is a mixed – but unmistakable – legacy. Without his work Sojourners would not have been able to gain nonprofit space in the new Tivoli building and could not have afforded to remain in Columbia Heights. Here’s an excerpt from Jose Suiero’s article:

“New residents to the Columbia Heights (CH) neighborhood of Washington DC have no idea the conditions of the area after the 1969 riots through the crack epidemic of the late 80’s and downturns of the 90’s, but it was a far cry from the prosperous, bustling, relatively secure, upscale neighborhood it has become. To his eternal credit, the late Robert L. Moore, longtime leader of the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights (DCCH) who just passed away, was the chief architect and promoter of this transformation. We owe him credit for rebuilding Columbia Heights into the thriving, multi-cultural urban village it has become. He need not worry about his legacy. It is everywhere.

When Bob took over the fledgling community development organization there were burned out vacant lots virtually on every side street of the 14th St. corridor from U all the way up to Spring Road. The Target shopping mall remained an empty lot for close to 20 years with the infamous Waffle Shop anchoring the corner at 14th & Park Rd. The Tivoli stood empty for decades, a hollowed out empty shell. The 1400 block of Park Road was a drug bazaar and Lincoln Jr. High one of the most violence prone schools in the city.

During the Barry years when the urgency of renewing the city core was a top priority the government reached out to Moore to help spur economic development in the ‘Heights’. With an extensive affordable housing background and experience in DC government as head of the DC Housing Authority, Bob took the lead in acquiring boarded up row houses, repairing them and selling them as affordable homes keeping long term residents in their neighborhood. Under his leadership DCCH designed and built a small strip mall along 14th St. at Belmont Rd. The Nehemiah Shopping Center was eventually demolished to build housing, but this first attempt at bringing retail back to CH was the precursor to the DC/USA mall. …” —Jose Sueiro

Read Jose Sueiro’s whole article here.

It’s Time to Move Our Money

board_community_bankLet’s be honest. Most of us have what money we have in some big bank because of a) convenience or b) our little bank got eaten up by a big bank and we just didn’t have the time or energy to find some place new.

Last year I went through several hoops to get my accounts out of Bank of America only to find that, 2 months after I switched, my new bank had been taken over by Wells Fargo. Argh!

But now, I’m going to try for it again. I want to try to move most of my accounts to Self-help Credit Union in North Carolina and keep a small checking account here in DC with Lafayette Federal Credit Union that serves D.C. residents.

It’s time for Americans to reinvest in community banks. This movement has been building for a number of years. Churches in particular have made community economics a priority.

Ched Myers and the folks at the Sabbath Economics Cooperative have been educating on community investing as a faith act for 25 years. Now, what was once only practiced by a few is graduating into a mainstream movement of the many.

Eric Stoner over at Waging Nonviolence has a nice post on the movement to get Americans to shift their money out of big banks into community banks and credit unions. There’s also a great little video (below) out promoting the Move Your Money campaign.

Sojourners’ Jim Wallis also just put out a book called Rediscovering Values on what the Bible teaches us about our current economic debacle and had a good piece in the Washington Post called A Religious Response to the Financial Crisis.

Wallis says, “The market’s first commandment, “There is never enough,” must be replaced by the dictums of God’s economy — namely, there is enough, if we share it. … Already, pastors, lay leaders and innovative faith-based practitioners are suggesting creative answers: mutual aid; congregational and community credit unions; and new cooperative strategies for solving such problems as hunger, homelessness and joblessness. If these initiatives succeed, the economic crisis may offer congregations a rare opportunity to clarify their missions and reconnect with their communities. ”

Tell me your stories on where you store the green stuff and what it helps to grow!